Dominguez denounces ‘BIR pabaon drive’ for him

Published May 24, 2022, 2:31 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has received reports that some Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) personnel have allegedly harassed a number of businesses to raise money for the Department of Finance (DOF) chief’s parting gift.

A “pabaon” to be given prior to his retirement on June 30 “is absolutely not true,” Dominguez told reporters, saying he “really got pissed off” after learning that an alleged “fund” was being setup as a parting gift for him.

According to Dominguez, some people in the tax bureau were allegedly “going around town harassing people.”

“I don’t know the names [of the BIR personnel] but people were calling me up,” the finance chief said.

Dominguez said he tried to ask his informants to name the persons who were asking money, or “pabaon,” on his behalf.

They did not want to name the BIR personnel on fear that “baka balikan kami,” or take revenge, Dominguez said.

“You know how it is, they want to be a whistleblower, but they only want to whistle half way,” Dominguez said, referring to his informants.

Dominguez has made the revelation about the alleged “pabaon” during an interview with reporters on the BIR’s withheld closure order against Megaworld Corp.

“And then this thing [Megaword issue] came out, this is a second thing that there was a threat to close down a publicly listed company without any basis,” the DOF chief disclosed.

Dominguez did not identify the listed firm that had the same problem with the tax authorities.

But according to Dominguez, the BIR had no finding against Megaworld that the property developer avoided in paying the taxes.

Last week, the BIR and Megaworld locked horns over the issue of jurisdiction on tax audits, which resulted in the issuance of a closure order against the property company.

Dominguez said BIR’s action against Megaworld affected its share price on the the Philippines Stock Exchange.

“There was no findings, I checked. Is there a finding that they didn’t pay tax, that there is a tax collection? None! So if you’re going to do that, why will you affect the value of the shares of people who have nothing to do with this thing?” Dominguez said.

According to Dominguez, the BIR and Megaworld fiasco had cost the Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) some P37 million in losses.

“SSS and GSIS are widows and orphans funds,” Dominguez said. “Collectivity, the public shareholders of MEG [Megaworld] lost about P111 million in value from May 17-23.”

Last May 20, Dominguez ordered the suspension of the BIR’s Revenue Special Orders (RSOs) and Operations Memoranda (OMs).

He said RSOs and OMs, or special audit task forces, have only resulted in duplication of functions within the bureau as well as confusion among taxpayers.

Manila Bulletin sought the side of BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay on the alleged “pabaon” for Dominguez, but he did not reply.